Barefoot might be best but it’s not always practical. When walking outside or on rough surfaces, tender skin needs protection from sharp objects and extreme weather conditions. Shoes should be as close to barefoot as possible. Look out for the following features when choosing your child’s shoes to enable them to walk, run and explore with greater ease and confidence:
- Flexible – Flexible soles allow the foot and ankle to develop most naturally by enabling the foot to respond to changes in the walking environment and to make appropriate adaptations. They are recommended by podiatrists because they offer protection without being restrictive. When choosing a shoe, you should be at least able to bend the toe of the shoe up easily to help develop the immature muscles of the foot.
- Breathable – A foot has 250,000 sweat glands, with the potential to create a quarter of a pint of perspiration every day! Inners should be made of natural materials such as leather with uppers of leather or canvas rather than plastic or imitation leather. Breathable shoes will encourage good foot hygiene and prevent conditions such as althlete’s foot.
- Lightweight – Shoes should not be heavy or impede the child’s movement in any way. Toddlers have enough of a hard time putting one bare foot in front of the other. The weight of a shoe, especially a heavy one, makes this task even more challenging. Heavy shoes can lead to a lack of confidence in agility, tired legs or worse; misalignment of the spine from children holding a different posture to overcompensate for the weight of the shoe they’re carrying.
- With wide toe boxes – Children’s feet are not just a scaled down version of adult’s feet. They have a particular shape, rather like a triangle, and need shoes to reflect this. Good toddler shoes require a correspondingly much bigger toe area than the shape of an adult shoe. Many shoe manufacturers of children's shoes are simply scaled down versions of adult shoes. Wide toe boxes enable the child to wriggle their toes freely and importantly, allow their toes to spread without constriction as they grip the ground to walk. Not only should the toe box be wide, but the opening to the shoe should also be wide enough to enable the foot to slip in easily, without having to squeeze the toes in any way.
- Non-slip flat soles - Material for outdoor shoes on hard surfaces such as playgrounds should be slip-resistant, shock absorbing and flexible. The best inner soles are protective while simulating barefoot conditions, meaning no heels, arch supports or other "molding" features. Look for light rubber soles with grooves for traction or leather or suede soles with rubber padding in just the right places to provide greater durability.
Vivo Barefoot Eco Policy
CANVAS All the canvas we use in our shoes is 100% organic and comes from sustainable sources.
ECO PU Unlike most Polyurethanes, the PU’s we use in our Vegan line are non-toxic. They are made with minimum effluents and maximum efficiency in a factory where all by-products are properly treated to ISO14001 standards.
VEGETABLE TANNED LEATHER Our suppliers use a tanning process that favours vegetable extracts over heavy metals or toxic materials to create rich, beautiful leathers.
ATHLETIC MESH This is a functional mesh, used throughout the collection. The cover is composed of 100% recycled plastic bottle fibres, the middle layer is completely biodegradable and the lining is made from 50% recycled plastic bottle fibres.
OUR SOLES Our soles are made from reconstituted natural latex and rice husks. We don’t sacrifice performance for eco-friendliness: these are some of the most hard-wearing, non-slip soles on the market.
RECYCLED NYLON All the nylon we use in our shoes is made from 100% recycled plastic bottle fibres.
INSOLE Our insoles are non-toxic and made without the use of any heavy metals. We use 70% recycled Polyurethane, natural cork and anti-microbial. This means all the insoles are moisture wicking, odour absorbing, fast drying and anti-bacterial.
ANTI-MOULD STICKER We’ve replaced the traditional silica gel pack often found in shoeboxes with a non-toxic anti-mould sticker. This does exactly the same job and is made using natural plant essences.
RECYCLABLE PAPER/CARDBOARD All our printed materials, from catalogues to leaflets to our shoe trees (the things that keep the shape of the shoes) are made from recycled paper or cardboard. Recycle, Reuse, Reduce It is a worrying fact that over 300 million shoes from the US alone end up in landfills each year. We are committed to making shoes that last, both in style and quality, and are increasingly repairable and recyclable. We use as many recycled materials as possible, including PET (recycled plastic bottles), partially recycled soling rubbers, foam footbeds, nylon heels and quilts made from material scraps in a Pakistani co-operative.
We minimise the amount of glue by using stitched constructions. Where we have to use glue, our factories try to use water-based adhesives. When that’s not possible, we always choose the most eco-friendly option and put time into researching alternatives. Vegetable tanned leather reduces the amount of toxins and heavy metals needed in a normal tanning process. Our leather is prepared using vegetable extracts to create rich and beautiful colours. We source components local to the factories where our shoes are made in order to minimise transportation and reduce our carbon footprint. By making our shoes as lightweight as possible we increase their eco rating. An essential component of eco design is weight – light shoes use less carbon to ship around the world.
HOW CAN WE MAKE ECO-FRIENDLY SHOES AND PRODUCE IN CHINA?
We have been working directly with our factories in China for five years and all of them are independently audited by international NGOs*, to the very highest international labour and environmental standards. Our main tannery partner is rated ISO 14001 (the highest international environmental accreditation available).
We source components local to the factories where our shoes are made in order to minimise transportation and reduce our carbon footprint.
Think about your feet
Memory foam gently hugs the plantar surface of the foot creating unparalleled comfort. And guess what: it’s recycled too.
We believe in freeing your feet. We make all of our soles as flexible as possible so your feet can move as nature intended.
The ultra-thin patented soles allow your feet to move and strengthen naturally.
Your posture will realign itself and, by listening to your body, you will rediscover a more natural way to walk.